Dramaquill's All Things Writing

September 16, 2015

Top Five WORST Places to Write

Filed under: writer's block,Writing — dramaquill @ 3:09 PM
Tags: ,

It’s been a long time since I wrote my previous post.  Life got in the way.  What can I say!

Every writer has a favorite spot or two that they feel best helps them tap into their creative muse.  I love writing outdoors in a beautiful, quiet spot by a lake or inside a cozy room with soft lighting and a fireplace.  Sadly, it isn’t often that I am able to enjoy either scenario.  Most of my writing is done at my desk in my home office or at my place of business when I have a break from appointments.  And that’s okay.  I get a lot of work done in both of these places.

Not every spot, however, is conducive to feeding my creativity and churning out those much needed plays, books and articles.  These are what I would consider MY top five worst places to write:

  1.    In the house (when other people are home)
  2.    Starbucks   (always buzzing like a busy ant hill)
  3.    Mall food court  (but great for people watching for potential characters
  4.    Waiting rooms (either way too much distraction or way too quiet)
  5.    Church (Shouldn’t I be listening to the sermon?)

Please comment with your WORST writing places.

And just to set the record straight on this one – SUMMER is the worst time of year to write!

September 18, 2012

Teaching Drama inspired me to get back to writing

As the owner of a performing arts studio, my schedule becomes almost overwhelming from late August through mid September.  It’s both exhilarating and exhausting.

I’ve now entered the phase where all of my classes have begun and I’m re-connecting with former students as well as meeting new ones.  It’s an exciting time at my studio.

Saturday was the first day of classes and as it happens, all of our drama programs are on Saturday.

First up was the 6-10 year old group.  As we all played a fun drama game to learn each other’s names, I saw snippets of creativity begin to emerge.  Even the shy children were eager to say and do something that would make everyone remember them.  The collective energy in the drama room produced an encouraging atmosphere where the students felt themselves trying things outside of their comfort zones and enjoying it.

The second group consisted of the 11-17 year old crowd.  This diverse group ranged from kids with plenty of creative experience to others with absolutely none.  Interestingly enough, as we worked on a variety of group and individual activities, this group definitely had a noticeable split between the “up for anything” creative types and the “shy and guarded” individuals, however, by the end of the class, the split had weakened considerably.

Finally, the last class, a large group of students ages 9-18 entered the studio.  Many of these kids have taken programs with us before, however there was also a handful of newcomers.  One might think that such a mix of ages would result in chaos, but the opposite took place.  Different levels of creativity took shape as we integrated ages and abilities, familiar and unfamiliar.  The creative energy became infectious during the ninety minute session.

You’re probably all wondering what any of this has to do with writing.

Writing alone is great when your creativity flows and the words just spew out of you and on to the page.  But as we all know, there are also times when the complete opposite happens.

Creativity grows when surrounded by creativity.

Join a writing group.

Talk to other writers.

Talk to potential readers.

Read books that aren’t in your comfort zone and see how you feel when you’re done.

Participate in a critique group.

I always feel more inspired and creative after I’ve done any one of these things.  It just took me a day of teaching drama to remember how great it is to interact.

August 19, 2012

It’s all part of the creative process

This summer has been strange to say the least.  Warm sunny days where the sun’s up around six a.m. and doesn’t go to bed until after 10:00 p.m. makes for the perfect writing environment for me.  I can grab my iPad or a notebook and head to one of the nearby parks or lakes, sit sipping a mochaccino on an outdoor coffee shop patio or hunker down under a shade tree in my backyard.

At least that’s the way my writing life has gone until this summer.

I can’t say that it hasn’t been bugging me that I can’t seem to find my stride with my current WIP, my second adult suspense novel.  I’ve started re-reading the 31 chapters I’d previously written, hoping to find myself jumping back into the rhythm of it all.  But that just hasn’t been the case.

Am I worried that I’ll never finish my second book?

No, not at all.  But I sure don’t like waiting for this dry spell to end.

Oddly enough, my creativity did get a jump start in another area of writing.  Next week, my studio is offering a drama camp for kids 8-14 years old.  I started flipping through all our scripts and through my computer files and suddenly camp up with an idea – a campy spy play.  I got to work.

My fingers flew over the keys as the ideas formed.  It’s a quirky, silly, fast-paced romp through a day in the life of a secret agency of spies, made up of a bunch of ordinary kids.  Only thing is, nobody is allowed to know who anybody else is so they all wear white masks and go by a number rather than their name.

It felt good to exercise my creative chops again, even if it wasn’t on my WIP.

Maybe a week of creativity with this drama camp will be just what my muse needs to make an appearance.  Let’s hope so.

Don’t get discouraged when the words don’t come.  It’s all part of the creative process.

May 29, 2010

The Creative Process…unpredictable

Arts Blogs - Blog Top Sites


Bookmark and Share

Just recently I received the artwork for the cover of my upcoming suspense novel and I must say, I was thrilled with the entire look of it.  It completely captures the essence of my book and I think it will entice many to read the synopsis at the back and hopefully want to buy the book.

So, I had been working on a sequel to this novel, but due to some major revisions to the first book, a sequel may or may not be my next step.  Slightly derailed in my creativity for a few days, I sat down, literally with pen and paper, and began to write out some other plot ideas that had been festering inside my head.

It seems I have a completely new book, with a new cast of characters, ready and willing to pour out onto the page.  The character sketches and major plot points came together incredibly quickly and after two or three hours of writing, I now have a prologue and two full chapters and I’m quite intrigued on where this is all going.

The creative process is indeed unpredictable.  I was completely sure, and completely excited to finish the last third of my sequel.  My characters were still fresh from the rewrite of book one and the intricacies that had developed in the sub-plots and amongst the major players had me convinced that I’d complete the manuscript within a few days.

But my creative persona had other plans.

You’re a writer.  Don’t let yourself get tied into one idea or one project.  If the creative muse comes a calling with something new, open yourself to the possibilities of the creative process.  You never know what might happen.  Savour the unpredictable.

August 7, 2008

How does the summer affect your creativity?

Today’s the first week of August and technically we’re into the last half of the summer season.  Have you been on a vacation?  Had company from out of town?  Spent time at the beach? 

These are all typical summer activities, especially for those of us who live in a place with four very distinct seasons. 

I used to think that the long days of endless summer sun would call me outside and away from my computer.  I imagined two months of little or no writing time.  Let’s face it – summer goes by quickly, right?  We have to enjoy it while it’s here.

But summer also means that my business (performing arts studio) runs fewer programs, leaving me more free time.  I tend to be someone who works best in a structured schedule and following deadlines.  So, for the first couple of weeks off the summer after I started my business, my writing output was minimal to non-existent.  This was summer – time to relax, right?

But soon I found myself packing a hard cover writing book, several pens and a couple of books in my beach bag.  The more time I spent at public beaches, parks and shopping malls, the more ideas I began to imagine as future writing projects.  Interactions between families or groups of kids playing together spawned poems about friendship, summer activities, weather and other such topics.  An idea for a play about kids at a summer camp came to mind.  I even penned a mystery/ghost story as I wondered about an abandoned old shack on a patch of land overgrown with foliage.

We’re writers – right?  It’s what we do.  It only stands to reason that it doesn’t take long for our surroundings to begin to supply us with all sorts of ways to be creative.

I love living in a place with four distinct seasons.  I love feeling the different energy that each season gives to my writing.

WINTER:  

It’s cold out (and dark a lot more) so I can hunker down with a big project or finish up pieces that I’d started but not completed.

SPRING:   

A time for renewal – time to send out those subs I’ve been working on all year.

SUMMER:  

Less structured but a time to re-energize and find the creativity around me.  Time to get all those new ideas down.

FALL:      

School starts again.  Classes begin at our studio.  It’s time to get into action and work on several projects, prioritizing which ones require my attention first.

How do the seasons affect your creativity?

June 19, 2008

I owe it all to Mary Higgins Clark

As you all know, I’m furiously working on my final (I say this “tongue-in-cheek”) revision of my adult suspense novel, “When Love Won’t Die”.  It’s been a lengthy project for a couple of reasons.  After writing and rewriting, I decided to put my novel through a critique group and professional critique, adding more time to the year or so I had previously spent writing my first draft.

Sometimes as I sit in front of my computer screen, wading through all the critiques and weighing in on the suggestions from my peers, I wonder why I continue to plod along on this project.  Look at the odds.  It’s harder than ever for a first-time author to get a book deal these days.  More and more publishers are closing their houses to unsolicited subs.  And then there’s the catch-22 of needing an agent to get published vs. being published to get an agent.

Sometimes, when I’m stuck (usually doing research), I enjoy a trip to a local bookstore.  Seeing all the books lining the shelves reminds me that each of those authors had to start somewhere and hey, if they can do it, why not me?  And then I meandor over to the fiction section where the suspense/mystery/thrillers are kept and see the plethora of titles by Mary Higgins Clark.

I’ve read Mary’s books for longer than I can remember and I continue to enjoy how she interweaves her characters and plot twists into stories that keep me guessing until the last pages.  She has twenty-six suspense novels to her credit and her next one, “Where are you now?” comes out later this year.

But Mary Higgins Clark didn’t have an easy time of things.  She grew up in a one parent family (after her father passed away) and sought out a more prolific career in an ad agency before trying her hand at her passion, writing.  In 1956, she sold her first short story.  Even after marrying, Mary faced a huge challenge when her husband died, leaving her alone to raise five children.

Every time I think about not having enough time to write or how life is getting in the way of my creativity, I immediately see this young woman, getting up at 5 a.m. every day so that she would have 2 hours to write before her children woke up and had to get ready for school. 

I guess I’d have to say that I owe it all to my inspiration, Mary Higgins Clark.  Her story, her books and her accomplishments are what help keep me motivated when it would be easier to give up.

For more news on Mary Higgins Clark, check out this site:

http://www.simonsays.com/content/destination.cfm?sid=33&pid=352932

So thank-you, Mary Higgins Clark. 

Who or what keeps you going?

May 16, 2008

Weather and productivity – what’s your connection?

Talking to writers always fascinates me.  I enjoy hearing about everything from where writers get their ideas to their favorite places to write.  Some writers only conceive new chapters at the computer.  Some prefer the portable word processor, the Alphasmart.  Personally, I really connect using my favorite brand of pens and a large, hard cover journal with lined pages.

But more than the tools that I use, the weather has a profound effect on my productivity and I feel lucky to live in a place with four very distinct seasons. 

If I’m indoors in my little home office, I love writing when it’s cold, windy and rainy outside.  The gloomy weather, coupled with a hot cup of java provides me with the perfect scenerio to get down to some serious writing.  And it’s during those rainstorms that I must abandon my “pen in hand” writing method for the computer because once the words start coming, the only way I can keep up with my brain is to type.

So why don’t I get the same boost from those dark, cold winter nights?  Is it the cup of cocoa that numbs my power to create and instead encourages me to curl up in the front of the TV with a good movie?

Believe it or not, I actually prefer my little windowless home office to a bright cheery room or even the outdoors.  If it’s gloomy outside, the entire house has that cozy feel of darkness approaching when I turn on the soft, energy efficient light. But if it’s a sunny day, a window tempts me to abandon all thoughts of writing and get outside and enjoy the weather.

I must admit that I do, at times, enjoy writing outside amid the beauty of mother nature.  Sitting on a beach on a sunny afternoon, feeling the moisture from the surf as the waves splash onto the sandy shore provide me with a place to destress as well as scribble down new ideas for stories, or create new characters.  But as far as productivity goes, the rainy day wins hands down every time.

So does your writing have a connection to the weather? 

***For those unfamiliar with the Alphasmart portable word processor, check them out online at:

http://www.alphasmart.com/Retail/

November 26, 2007

What do you do when?

Drat!  As luck would have it, just when I was finding a real rhythm to surge ahead with my Nano novel, I got sick.  Having spent the past few days fighting a fever and eventually succumbing to much needed bed rest, I have missed three days of writing opportunity on my nano book.

I already knew the last week of November was going to be tough with a drama presentation to prepare for and some other writing projects, all with “end of November” deadlines.

It looks bleak that I’ll make the 50,000 now, but I’m not giving up.  Whatever happens, I’ve written a ton this month on a project I doubt would have ever gotten off the ground because something else always come up and gets in the way.

I’m inspired by those who managed the 50,000, whether for the first time or who continue to do so annually. 

I’m definitely doing nano next year.  In fact, I already have the novel picked out from my book of ideas and scribbles of inspiration that I keep on hand to jot down moments of creativity.

So next year I’ll be writing “Quick!  Pass the Chips.” 

But for now, cheer me on as I try to sprint ahead even a little more on my suspense novel, “Losing Charlotte.” 

I wish all the Nano participants great, long episodes of creativity this week and the stamina to write…write…write…

 Yay, Nanowrimo!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.